A Love Letter to the ‘Supermanx’ T-shirt

There have been a few items of clothing that have become cultural phenomenons. There was last year’s Zara dress, an inoffensive, universally flattering polka-dot dress that was favourited by millennial women for cocktails and brunch with the girls (avocado toast all ‘round, obvo). There was also that Topman t-shirt from 2010, the one that meant Rihanna was practically the Only Girl (In the World) (sorry) that was featured on British lad’s chests, and was almost always paired with a pair of beige chinos. Trends have come and gone, but nothing has been quite a cultural mainstay like the Supermanx t-shirt.

Here, usually, I would describe what the Supermanx t-shirt looks like, but you already know. Explaining what the Supermanx t-shirt looks like to a Manxie would be like telling them the Laxey Wheel is red, or they need to say hello the fairies when you go over the bridge. They just know.

I can’t remember a time before the Supermanx t-shirt; it’s just always been there. It lingers around the island, but it reappears around on the island around the big national bank holidays; Tynwald day and Senior Race day being key. There is not a doubt that there will be a couple of men (because it almost always is men) who will be cutting about the supermanx bank holiday with the big ol’ three legs of man emblazoned on their chests.

They make Supermanx t-shirts in women’s sizes, but there is fundamentally a type of man who wears this funky garm.* He is a Dad, probably with a bald spot. He packs this t-shirt on his family holiday to Salou, and his wife makes him wear it after he gained a gained a third-degree sunburn on his beer belly. He is patriotic, but in a benign way- less ‘there’s a boat in the morning’ and more ‘and if you think our flag is weird, wait ‘til you see our cats’. He’ll get irritated when an uncomfortable looking European squints at his top, thinking that he’s wearing a swastika (there are only three legs! THREE), and he’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about how anyway a Manxman is thrown, he’ll land on his feet. He is repping the island, and he’s doing a cracking job.

What you wear for the supermanx weekend will be, as ever, determined by the Manx weather. You might be in a bikini, you might be in a jumper, you might be wearing some very Manx and very attractive Gef the Mongoose merch (bonus points if you do). But I’ll have a soft spot for whoever is wearing the unofficial Manx national costume.

*This is not backed by science or statistics.

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